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Freshmen Lawmakers Get Crash Course in State Government

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 06 Dec 2011 05:50pm | comments
House Speaker Billy McCoy welcomes the new class.

When the Mississippi legislature goes into session early next year, more than a quarter of the Senators and Representatives will be new. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that the freshmen lawmakers in Jackson getting a crash course on jam-packed 2012 legislative session.

"You are part of the branch closest to the people. Folks will come to your door and as I saw blow the horn. They won't even knock on your door, they will blow the horn at you and have you come see them,"

Mississippi House Speaker Billy McCoy welcomes the new class of state legislators at the Capitol Tuesday morning.

There will be 47 new senators and representatives for the four-month session that begins January third.

The Institutions of Higher Learning brought in experts from all over Mississippi to bring the law makers up to speed on how state government works and the main issues facing the state says higher education commission Hank Bounds.

"Whether you are talking about education, health care, or our retirement system. We will give some revenue projections and we will also spend some time talking about the state's bonded indebtedness and what that looks like. Health care panels, education panels, just a good opportunity to get a head start," Bounds said.

A House clerk takes the new law makers on a tour of the Capitol introducing them to key locations.

Senator-elect Sean Tisdell of Gulfport says his biggest focus is the state's budget situation.

"Obviously we have got the big budget issues that are coming up. Just like across the country, most of the states are in a bind and we are in the same boat. So we are going to have to work hard on the budget and make sure stay within the parameters that we were sent here to do," Tisdell said.

The freshmen lawmakers are joining the legislature at a time of major change with Republicans controlling most levers of government.

Representative-elect Charles Young Junior of Lauderdale County thinks that level of turn over is the biggest challenge.

"We have a transition with the Governor, the Lt. Governor, the Speaker. So there are going to be transitions with many chair and I think the biggest area of transition that we are going to have to take is with people," Young said.

The new law maker training continues in Jackson through today.



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